Eighteen centuries ago a young scholar of philosophy from the Roman colony near ancient Samaria was taking a solitary walk along the shores of the Mediterranean Sea. Thirsting after truth as the one great possession, he had drawn water out of every well of ancient learning and philosophy, only to thirst again. He had gone the rounds of the Stoics, the Platonists, the Peripatetics, the Pythagoreans, and yet had not come to satisfaction and peace. But on this morning walk by the seaside he met a venerable Christian. They engaged in conversation, and that conversation changed the course of Justin Martyr's life. This unknown friend showed him how the philosophers reasoned about the truth, where as the Hebrew prophets spoke of truth as men who had been witnesses. He pointed out to him how the prophets had foretold the coming of Christ, and how their predictions were fulfilled in his life and work. Taking the old man's advice, Justin commenced the study of the Old Testament prophecies and their confirmation in the Gospels. This convinced him of the truth of Christianity, and he became a Christian and one of the greatest defenders of its truth and most heroic of its martyrs.
Most ministers and Bible teachers give small attention today to the study and exposition of predictive prophecy. Even the large bulk of space given in the Scriptures to prophetical writings would seem to suggest a different course. But it is still more embarrassing to consider that such neglect seems to ignore teachings to which the Spirit of God gives large prominence and emphasis.
Our attention has been directed to a particular instance of prophecy which was uttered sixteen centuries B.C. and the fulfillment of which has transpired within the last few years. The prophecy relates to the future of Zebulun, one of the twelve tribes, and what should happen in their tribal allotment in Palestine. It was uttered by Jacob in his blessing to the tribes, and later by Moses, as follows:
"Zebulun shall dwell at the haven of the sea; and he shall be for a haven of ships; and his borders shall be unto Zidon" (Gen. 49:13).
"And of Zebulun he said, Rejoice, Zebulun, in thy coming out . . . they shall call the peoples unto the mountain; there shall they offer sacrifices of righteousness, for they shall suck the abundance of the seas and the hidden treasures of the sands" (Deut. 33:18, 19).
For nearly 3,600 years since the prophecy was uttered no port of consequence was ever builded on the coast of Zebulun. But in October, 1933, the British High Commissioner of Palestine opened at Haifa a magnificent new harbor, which is actually under the shadow of Carmel. This he did in preparation for the opening of the pipeline that has been laid to convey the oil from the great oil wells of Iraq, 1,100 miles eastward, westward to the coast.
The line is now being operated and it is declared that more than 4,000,000 tons of oil annually will be delivered to the sea at Haifa for transport. Not only will this make Zebulun increasingly "a haven for ships," but the commercial development of the land itself calls for the harbor.
Jaffa (old-time Joppa) was more suitably situated in relation to Jerusalem. But "all this was done that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, Zebulun shall . . . be a haven for ships." Little did those in authority know when they built the harbor of Haifa that they were the instruments of God, fulfilling what the prophet had predicted more than 3,600 years ago.—Courtesy Moody Monthly.
In September, 1938, a man who lived on Long Island was able one day to satisfy a life-long ambition by purchasing for himself a very fine barometer. When the instrument arrived at his home, he was extremely disappointed to find that the indicating needle appeared to be stuck, pointing to the sector marked "Hurricane." After shaking the barometer very vigorously several times, its new owner sat down and wrote a scorching letter to the store from which he had purchased the instrument, and on the following morning, on his way to his office in New York, he mailed the letter. That evening he returned to Long Island, to find not only the barometer missing, but his house also. The barometer's needle had been right—there was a hurricane! ... Yet how many Christians there are who seem to regard the clear fingers of prophecy in the Word of God with like indifference and disdain!—E. Schuyler English, in Our Hope.
A short time ago I worked with a college fellow, a very efficient man and capable of doing his work with an accuracy and speed that few men possess. It apparently came natural to him; therefore he expected the men under him to do as well as he. We didn't always do it, but one of the men was quite slow, unusually so at times, and during the course of a day's work this supervisor would gloat over this certain fellow, or any of us for that matter, and invariably he would start or end up by saying, "You're slower than the second coming of Christ." Little did this man know that he was fulfilling the words of prophecy written nineteen hundred years ago when Peter, speaking of the Lord's coming, said: "Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts, and saying, Where is the promise of his coming?" (II Pet. 3:3, 4). Do not be deceived by the space of years, but remember, "The day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night" (II Pet. 3:10).—Faithful Words.
The Saturday Evening Post carries a short note from Washington, D. C. Its information is very interesting: "The American Humane Society estimates that there are not fewer than 330,000 American families who wander almost continuously from region to region without fixed addresses." Daniel saw that coming. In speaking of this day,
Daniel said that "many should run to and fro." There it is. Home life is surely fading from the scene in America as well as the rest of the world.—The Church of God Evangel.
During recent years, earthquakes have severely damaged buildings on the famous Mount of Olives. But the greatest earthquake of all is yet future, and will take place exactly as predicted by the prophet Zechariah. The geological formation of the soil of the Mount of Olives is all set for the coming event. It only awaits God's appointed moment to act. Professor Bailey Willis, the seismological expert of Leland Stanford University, made this striking statement before the British Association for the Advancement of Science: "The region around Jerusalem is a region of potential earthquake danger. A `fault line,' along which an earth slippage may occur at any time, passes directly through the Mount of Olives."—Selected.